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A Capital Crimes Novel

By Jan Brogan

Ballantine, 2005 ($24.95)
ISBN: 0-345-47819-3

Reviewed by Karen Meek

Joe Wilcox, veteran crime reporter for the fictional Washington Tribune, feels that he's coming to the end of his career.  An eager young reporter with sources in the mayor's office is nipping at his heels, and the important stories just don't seem to be coming his way. When two young, attractive media types are murdered, one in the Tribune building, Joe sees an opportunity to boost his standing by claiming that someone in the MPD told him there might be a serial killer on the loose. His little deception quickly gets out of hand, and brings him into conflict with his daughter Roberta, an up-and-coming television newscaster. Joe's life is further complicated when Michael, the brother he'd cut out of his life long ago, turns up and tries to become part of the family again. Michael had killed a neighbor girl as a teenager, was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and had spent forty years in a mental institution. Why he was released after all this time is not made clear. What is clear is that he is brilliant, charming, and thoroughly creepy. Is there a serial killer targeting young career women in Washington? Is Michael returning to his old, bad ways? Is Joe's twisted ambition going to destroy everything he's worked for?

This is not the best work Truman's done, but the insider details of Washington are, as always, interesting. The subject of journalistic integrity, or lack thereof, is timely and thought-provoking. Fans of her work will enjoy the story.

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